Gomez, Mazon make it an all-Pinoy show in Day 2 of Philippine Open Qualifiers

Roberto Gomez

On the second day of the Philippine Open Pool Championships qualifying stage, it was the Filipinos' turn to put on a show.

Roberto Gomez and Jundel Mazon took turns in beating their respective finals opponents handily to advance to the main draw of this event late Friday night at the Star Billiards Center.

With Gomez and Mazon securing two slots in the main draw, only six seats remain up for grabs in the qualifying event for men, which resumes Saturday morning also at the Star Billiards Center.

Four seats will be disputed by the lady competitors, which start to see action on April 3 and 4 in hope of joining the 28 other players who are already assured of spots in the main draw.

The world champions who are already in the main draw include Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines (World 8-Ball champion), Mika Immonen of Finland (World Ten Ball champion), former world champions Darren Appleton of Great Britain, Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines and Ralf Souquet of Germany and current women world titlists Jasmin Ouschan of Austria (World 10-Ball) and Xiao-Fang Fu of China (World 9-Ball).

Gomez, runner-up to Daryl Peach in the 2007 World Pool Championship in Manila, exacted revenge against a younger yet equally confident opponent who defeated him a day earlier. The more experienced Filipino dealt 17-year-old Chinese sensation Wan Chan a sound 9-2 beating in Qualifier 4 finals.

Mazon, on the other hand, nearly swept his opponent, Dominic Ting of Malaysia, 9-1, in a match that was one sided right from the start. The first seven racks were easily secured by the Filipino player, who was poised to bring out the broom.

Gomez quickly raced to a 5-0 lead before his rival won the next two racks. But the Filipino player engaged his younger rival in a battle of safety exchanges, a ploy which worked on Gomez's favor.

The Filipino cue artist came through with another big run, taking the next three racks to move on to the threshold of wrapping up the match. During the exchanges of safety shots in the 11th rack, Chan saw a golden opportunity when he sank a difficult shot on the 6-ball.

The Chinese player was about to complete his run when disaster struck – he missed the last ball on the table, the 10-ball, in the corner. The young competitor couldn't hide his disappointment upon missing the shot that could have given him a chance to come back.

Gomez needed to sink the last ball on the table to formally clinch the victory, but Chan quickly offered his hand and conceded the match.       

“I lost to him Thursday because I took him lightly. I thought I could beat him easily because he's still young.  When I was given a chance to face him again, I tried to be more cautious and play smart. I don't want to give him a chance to win,” said Gomez.

Mazon's finals match against Ting was a one-sided affair. At one point, four balls found pockets when the Filipino unleashed his powerful break. It was a strong signal for the Filipino's entry to the main draw. He barely showed signs of fatigue after being pushed to the limit by a crack semifinals rival in Wang Ming of China. Instead, he preserved his energy for the tough grind and showed too much class against Ting.

The Filipino player raced to a 7-0 lead and allowed his rival to break the balls only three times. None of those breaks were successful for the Malaysian player, whose first point of the match finally came in the eighth rack after Mazon was called for a foul while taking on the 5-ball. Ting cleaned up the table, averting a possible sweep by the Pinoy cue artist.

A dry break on the ninth by Ting enabled Mazon to get back to the table, and the Pinoy cue artist wasted no time sinking one ball after another for an 8-1 lead.

Ting missed another easy shot on ball 6-ball in the 10th rack, and Mazon put an end to the match by cleaning up the remaining balls.

Chinese-Taipei's Yu Lung Changand Che-Wei Fu flourished in the opening day of the qualifying stage of the Philippine Open Pool Championship, but Jundel Mazon and Roberto Gomez came through with equally impressive victories late Friday night at the Star Billiards Center and took the spotlight.